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EY Canada deepens ESG business line, acquires AFARA

EY Canada is expanding its ESG footprint with the acquisition of AFARA, a sustainability consulti...

IMAGE: EY logo.EY Canada is expanding its ESG footprint with the acquisition of AFARA, a sustainability consulting firm with offices in Calgary and Toronto.

EY says the deal, announced earlier this month, reflects its commitment to meeting the needs of a global corporate sector that is increasingly in need of ESG services to make the transition to a carbon-neutral world.

AFARA brings to EY a team of multidisciplinary consultants that help public and private sector organizations improve sustainability performance. The boutique consultancy will be integrated into the EY-Parthenon strategic advisory unit as part of EY’s mission to deliver enhanced end-to-end ESG services that are now increasingly in demand.

“Businesses around the world are now embracing societal change and sustainable development as road maps to long-term success — and we are excited to play a role in that journey,” said Kent Kaufield, chief sustainability officer and ESG markets leader at EY Canada, in the announcement. “At the end of the day, sustainability is everybody’s business.

“With AFARA, we look forward to helping clients build resilient, sustainable companies and economies, while furthering the energy transition.”

AFARA will help EY develop actionable ESG strategies

The AFARA acquisition is the latest step taken by EY to expand its advisory capabilities to develop actionable ESG strategies that enable corporations to meet increasingly ambitious sustainability targets.

“This investment is a testament to firm’s commitment to accelerating climate action, and empowering its people and clients do the same,” said Dave Rogers, Canadian strategy leader at EY-Parthenon, in the release.

“From setting greenhouse gas reduction targets, to turning carbon dioxide pollution into valuable products and scaling up transformational recycling technologies, we’re helping leaders reframe their sustainability strategy to help protect and create value for business, people, society and the world.”

AFARA team will mesh with EY’s sustainable culture

By absorbing AFARA, EY Canada hopes to capitalize on its extensive track record advising clients in the energy, consumer goods and technology sectors. An example of its ESG consultancy capability was the development of a climate impact scenario model for a major Alberta petroleum transportation, storage and natural gas liquids processing company.

“It’s incredible to be joining an organization so focused on culture, values and solving some of the world’s most meaningful, complex problems,” said Dan Zilnik, president of AFARA and now partner at EY, in the same release.

“Both EY and AFARA have track records of helping clients navigate their ESG journeys as they work towards setting, meeting and reporting on key targets that build trust with stakeholders and capital markets,” Zilnik added.

“There is no doubt that we are about to accelerate and magnify our combined impact by joining forces. This is such an exciting milestone.”

EY – ESG trailblazer and trendsetter

EY is a trailblazer in the ESG field, having established its Climate Change and Sustainability Services team over 20 years ago.

In February of this year, it launched EYCarbon in the U.K., a $135 million sustainability consultancy that will help businesses develop their net-zero plans to meet increasingly stringent ESG regulations. Over 1,300 employees will be hired as part of this ambitious undertaking, the company says.

In May, EY revealed it would invest an undisclosed sum in partnering with Carbon13, a venture capital program that provides seed funding to green startups with the primary aim to reduce CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).

As per the announcement, Carbon13’s core objective is, “to create scalable ventures with the combined potential to reduce CO2e emissions by 400 million tonnes or one per cent of global emissions.”

With EY’s financial and technical backing, Carbon13 has committed to helping 1,000 entrepreneurs build 200 startups that would adopt the goal of lowering emissions by at least 10 million tonnes per year.

EY seeks to be net-zero by 2025

EY has committed to achieving net-zero status by 2025. It reached an important milestone in 2021 as part of that quest when it announced that its global operations became carbon negative.

This in-house corporate ESG policy adds to the credibility of the global consultancy giant whose stated mission is to become one of the world’s key drivers in the greening of the corporate landscape and respecting the protocols of the Paris climate accords.

Confirmation of EY’s ESG bona fides was recently provided by Verdantix, an independent research and advisory firm which cited EY as a leader in the field in its report titled Green Quadrant: ESG & Sustainability Consulting 2022.

“Businesses around the world are now embracing societal change and sustainable development as road maps to long-term success, which will help put us on the path to a truly sustainable future,” said Steve Varley, EY global vice chair – sustainability, in prepared comments about the report.

“I’m proud of the incredible work EY people do to help organizations protect and create value from sustainability, and this landmark report is an important recognition of how the EY organization is helping businesses around the world create value for all their stakeholders,” Varley added.

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